Japanese Maple

Skrawl

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Hello all,
I have recently acquired a beautiful Japanese maple and given it's size I am hoping to soon transplant it into a smaller pot. I understand how to trim the roots properly, but am looking for a good mix to plant it in. I know that plain old potting soil is not what you want, but as it's planted right now, it seems to be a mix of rough organic matter and soil. I don't think I'm about to shell out for akadama quite yet, as it seems quite expensive, but I'm sure there's other things people use to success.

TLDR: What is a fairly inexpensive potting medium for a Japanese maple?

I live in Victoria B.C.
 

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barrosinc

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If you are only talking about that tree, you just need 1 or 2 pounds... Nothing will break the bank
 

0soyoung

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Turface MVP does quite nicely, is inexpensive, and available in 40 pound bags at

SiteOne Landscape Supply #482
2065A Keating Cross Rd
Saanichton, BC V8M 2A5​


I've used MVP and Osmocote Plus fertilizer for more than 5 years now and think it is a quality substrate for broad leaf trees, especially maples. MVP is heavier than water and hence is very easy to reuse; just dump a potful into a bucket of water, stir, and skim off the roots and other pant materials - drain.

If you insist on using 'organic fertilizer' or 'poo', pumice/scoria sieved to about 1/8 inch or 2-3mm may be better. Turface tends to get choked with the stuff (so, don't put shit in Turface!). Putting the poo in teabags ought to cure this problem as this would keep the organic solids out of the substrate. I have yet to find a competitive source for small amounts pumice/scoria - fundamentally I lack the motivation.
 

ConorDash

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Hello all,
I have recently acquired a beautiful Japanese maple and given it's size I am hoping to soon transplant it into a smaller pot. I understand how to trim the roots properly, but am looking for a good mix to plant it in. I know that plain old potting soil is not what you want, but as it's planted right now, it seems to be a mix of rough organic matter and soil. I don't think I'm about to shell out for akadama quite yet, as it seems quite expensive, but I'm sure there's other things people use to success.

TLDR: What is a fairly inexpensive potting medium for a Japanese maple?

I live in Victoria B.C.
I didn't think the term "TL;DR" was used very commonly.
I just wanted to say its a nice looking tree. Im getting a Maple myself soon and will do the same in terms of asking around and researching the right mix for it.
I did think they liked more draining mixes though, inorganic. But I think there is a big argument between organic and inorganic, but both can work.
 

Cypress187

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I see you allready have the best bonsai-tool, ducktape. ;)
 

petegreg

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I wouln't repot it now, it's too late. Find a semi-shaded place for it and repot next spring before the buds start to swell. The blue pot seems not to be big enough for its next development.
 

AlainK

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I wouln't repot it now, it's too late. Find a semi-shaded place for it and repot next spring before the buds start to swell. The blue pot seems not to be big enough for its next development.
I agree. Acer palmatum, and other deciduous can be repotted in June, but first that depends on your weather conditions, and secondly if you don't have much experience in cultivating such trees, which I suppose from reading you, it's very risky.

Refresh the post in late February 2017.

You can also remove the tree from its plastic pot now without touching (too much) the roots, and put it in a wider but as deep pot and complte with pozzolane, pumice, or any inert medium to prepare it for the transplant.
 

Maros

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Potting tree into small pot is usually one of the last steps in developing bonsai. It obviously is not your case. Tree in small pot will not develop, trunk and branches will thicken only slightly. I would suggest to look for thread here how to develop bonsai from seedling. If you are going to repot it into this small pot, does not matter if you do it now or in spring 2017, you'll end up looking at more less same tree in next decade. I understand temptation of having real bonsai in real pot, but try to resist it, and try to develop trunk and structure of the branches first, in ground or larger pot, which could take few years.
 

Maloghurst

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Turface MVP does quite nicely, is inexpensive, and available in 40 pound bags at

SiteOne Landscape Supply #482
2065A Keating Cross Rd
Saanichton, BC V8M 2A5​


I've used MVP and Osmocote Plus fertilizer for more than 5 years now and think it is a quality substrate for broad leaf trees, especially maples. MVP is heavier than water and hence is very easy to reuse; just dump a potful into a bucket of water, stir, and skim off the roots and other pant materials - drain.

If you insist on using 'organic fertilizer' or 'poo', pumice/scoria sieved to about 1/8 inch or 2-3mm may be better. Turface tends to get choked with the stuff (so, don't put shit in Turface!). Putting the poo in teabags ought to cure this problem as this would keep the organic solids out of the substrate. I have yet to find a competitive source for small amounts pumice/scoria - fundamentally I lack the motivation.
So a good bonsai soil for maples is just strait turface and fertilizer? You don't add anything else?
 

Eric Group

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So a good bonsai soil for maples is just strait turface and fertilizer? You don't add anything else?
Many would not recommend this. Turface is... Controversial at best. Some swear by it, other swear when they see the crappy roots it produces! ;)

I never had a big problem with it but pumice and Akadama mixes are far superior IMO for bonsai.

Your tree is little more than a 2-3 year old seedling and would be best served to go in the ground for 5-10 years if you want to grow a decent sized trunk. If you don't like/ don't want to ground grow it, use a large (3-5 gallon) nursery pot and some good potting soil of some sort, that will grow it out almost as fast... No need to move this thing into a bonsai pot/ bonsai mix at this stage.
 

0soyoung

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So a good bonsai soil for maples is just strait turface and fertilizer? You don't add anything else?
Yep.
Many would not recommend this. Turface is... Controversial at best. Some swear by it, other swear when they see the crappy roots it produces!
So here is an example
 

Maloghurst

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Yep.

So here is an example
[/QUOTE
Looks like a nice young nebari to me Oso! Also sorry for the confusion Eric. I did not post the original thread. I agree that that maple should be put in the ground or a bigger pot to thicken the trunk. Though there is a reason nurseries step there stock up one size pot at a time. Just throwing that small maple in a 5 gallon pot can actually have an adverse effect from what I've read.
 

Eric Group

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Yep.

So here is an example
My cursing about the crappy roots comment was actually referring to the Michael Hagedorn blog post on the subject- JFTR, I used turface for years and never saw the poor root production he lamented... Personally I thought it was.. Ok! But my trees have taken A dramatic turn for the better since moving to volcanic soils a few years ago. You like cheap and easy over something more expensive but shown to be better by cpvirtually all the professionals in the field? Fine man... Go with it! Turface is something you can grow trees in, no disputing it... But pumice is the one "miracle" ingredient I can point to and say "that stuff makes a big difference!" Some seem to think it is Akadama, but pumice is the better ingredient IMO. Even when using turface, if I mixed in 1/3+ of pumice with the turface and pine bark mixes I was using, I saw dramatic improvement in tree health. I can show pics of roots that look like this^ that were grown in all sorts of substrates from turface to potting soil... But I can also say I lost a lot more trees when using inferior turface based mixes than I do now.

I generally using potting soils to grow stuff out and something similar to "Boone's Mix" when planting in Bonsai containers. Turface is little more than a top dressing for perlite when making Cuttings and layers at this point- or something I mix in as a sand substitute to add weight to a potting soil... I suspect you have not done enough experimenting with pumice/ volcanic soils to really see the difference?
 

Eric Group

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Yep.

So here is an example
My cursing about the crappy roots comment was actually referring to the Michael Hagedorn blog post on the subject- JFTR, I used turface for years and never saw the poor root production he lamented... Personally I thought it was.. Ok! But my trees have taken A dramatic turn for the better since moving to volcanic soils a few years ago. You like cheap and easy over something more expensive but shown to be better by cpvirtually all the professionals in the field? Fine man... Go with it! Turface is something you can grow trees in, no disputing it... But pumice is the one "miracle" ingredient I can point to and say "that stuff makes a big difference!" Some seem to think it is Akadama, but pumice is the better ingredient IMO. Even when using turface, if I mixed in 1/3+ of pumice with the turface and pine bark mixes I was using, I saw dramatic improvement in tree health. I can show pics of roots that look like this^ that were grown in all sorts of substrates from turface to potting soil... But I can also say I lost a lot more trees when using inferior turface based mixes than I do now.

I generally using potting soils to grow stuff out and something similar to "Boone's Mix" when planting in Bonsai containers. Turface is little more than a top dressing for perlite when making Cuttings and layers at this point- or something I mix in as a sand substitute to add weight to a potting soil... I suspect you have not done enough experimenting with pumice/ volcanic soils to really see the difference?
 

jomawa

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Hello all, TLDR: What is a fairly inexpensive potting medium for a Japanese maple? I live in Victoria B.C.
I'm a few years old newbie living a few hundred miles south of ya doing mostly vine maple and Japanese maple saplings. Have switched from potting soil to mostly pumice bought locally in bags. My mix now is 80 - 90% pumice/10 - 20% poting soil. Not going to 100% pumice so as to not water twice a day. Since it was raining here quite regular and I didn't water, and now it ain't raining so I do water, (usually daily). Lots of back budding and new growth this year. Fertilizer was/is Ozmocote 14-14-14 but a month ago came across Happy Frog "Maple" fertilizer at the hardware store and have been adding it along with some kiddie pool duck pond water. Just trying to get the darn plants to grow, (maybe I'll be able to say "this is the year the plants grew"). Theory tends to be fertilize far more than what one would normally expect. There's a lot of info in the maple forum, but one must resist the urge of TLDR or TIDR (too impatient, didn't read). You have a nice little red maple pre-bonsai seedling there, and it helps to know how, what, and why to do with it. It may help to be on the far side of IRI (I read it). Just saying.
 
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